Picking The Right Future Employee

In today’s economy, organizations are seeking every opportunity they can to reduce costs and increase margins. Marketing plans, purchasing strategies, and asset management are typically three of the most common ways to increase profits. Unfortunately, the one item that costs ag retailers hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars each year is often overlooked. That item is “bad hires” — employees that just don’t live up to their expectations.

In some cases, organizations will extend job offers to candidates that may not have all the skills, as it’s tough to get the right candidate to relocate to the community. Even more often, hiring managers interview several candidates and pick what they feel is the standout candidate — only for that candidate to stand out as a poor employee.

How can this be prevented? Is hiring employees as much of a gamble as it appears?

Fortunately, most hiring mistakes can be prevented, and your hiring process does not need to be as big of a risk as you might think. When an organization makes a bad hire, it often goes back to the interview process and trying to figure out what it can do different in the interview that will prevent this from happening. In fact, in the March 2010 issue of CropLife®, we offered some of the questions we utilize to find things about your candidates that can easily be overlooked with typical questions. However, it’s not your interview process and the questions you ask that will be the key to your hiring: It’s what you do BEFORE the interview that will significantly reduce the risk of hiring the wrong employee.

Don’t Assume

Many interviewers naturally assume that a well-prepared candidate is probably the best employee. What most hiring managers fail to recognize is that a well-prepared person may not be the best candidate for the job, and a well prepared interviewer will rarely make that hiring mistake. There are three critical steps that you must take if you want to reduce the risk of hiring the wrong employee.

■ Define the key job responsibilities.
■ Set realistic role expectations.
■ Analyze the work environment.

Define the key job responsibilities. The first step in preventing a poor hiring decision is to first decide what skills and attributes a candidate must possess to be able to meet the minimum requirements of the job on their first day. The key here is “the first day.” If this position requires a person to be able to do specific tasks on Day One — then those qualities must be on the list. If there are activities that need to be accomplished in a few months, and you will have time to train them — then those qualities should not be on the list. Think about the day-to-day routines of this position and all of the skills and personal attributes that are necessary to do the job well. What you may discover is that you may be setting your initial bar too high, and by default, missing out on some excellent candidates that, with a little coaching, could be star performers down the road.

Set realistic role expectations. Many, if not most, of the reasons candidates leave positions after the first year is because either they or the position didn’t live up to expectations. Before you interview the first candidate, you must first define the results you expect from this position in the first week, the first month, the first quarter, and the first year. This is a very critical step that is often overlooked. This activity will ensure both the hiring manager and the candidate that there are expected benchmarks.

For example, it’s easy to say “we expect this sales territory to have a 10% increase in profit this year.” However, it’s much more difficult to lay out the expectations for four or more benchmarks prior to that! When you really analyze the situation, is an increase what you truly expect? If this hire is replacing a good employee that left the organization, your early goals are likely to be more focused on retention. If you are hiring a location manager to “make changes,” it’s easy to say you want someone to improve things and make the necessary changes — but what changes are you expecting in the first week, month, and quarter? Are you looking for someone to get the existing staff focused and pulling in the same direction, or do you want this person to tear things down and build it back up? The same goal — but two very different timelines and methods.

Establishing these goals ahead of time will help you determine which candidates have the best ability to hit these targets. In addition, the multiple goals enhance the likelihood that a manager can resolve any issues or concerns with positive coaching long before their frustration leads to departure or they are dismissed due to not meeting annual expectations.

Analyze the work environment. Take a good look at the prospective supervisor, co-workers, customers, and anyone else an employee in this position will regularly be working for or with. Is the supervisor a hands-on manager or do they coach from a distance? Are the customers in this market loyal/high relationship buyers or is this an area with very low market share? Are the co-workers aggressive and competitive or are they reserved?

The Keys To Success

Next, think about what characteristics are necessary for a person to succeed in this environment. Consider these rules of thumb:

■ If the hiring manager is “hands-off,” then the candidate must have a high level of independence, the ability to develop plans/strategies on their own, and have enough experience to do things without seeking a second opinion.
■ If the manager is hands-on, you need a candidate that enjoys a team environment; the kind of person that enjoys bouncing thoughts and ideas off of others, and organized enough to meet the supervisor’s style of reporting and observation.
■ In a high market share territory, the candidate will typically need to have an expressive or high relationship style to be successful. People with this style develop and maintain a high level of rapport and will offer a high level of customer service. People with this style are focused on making long-term relationships and don’t like the word “no.”
■ If the territory has a low market share, the candidate will need to have a driven personality that typically thinks very strategically and seeks the constant challenges that a low market share environment provides. They are driven by making new sales and don’t care how many times they hear the word “no.” They are, however, often perceived as aggressive and can seem “pushy” to long-term customers.

So to attract, hire, and keep the right employees, preparation ahead of time can not only save you the cost of a miss-hire, but more likely help you select a future employee that can hit the organization’s goals and meet your expectations.

Leave a Reply

Employees Stories

Co-Alliance employee
EmployeesNew Purdue Program To Focus On Talent Management
July 14, 2016
Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business is starting a new professional development program to help food and agribusiness Read More
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Scholarships
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
EmployeesASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour: 10 Things We Learned
May 10, 2016
In the Midwestern ag retail world, the last week of April and the first two weeks of May are akin Read More
Purdue Online Course Screenshot
EmployeesPurdue Center Offers Online Course For Ag Sales Professionals
March 16, 2016
A new online course from Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business will help sales managers and advanced salespeople Read More
Trending Articles
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Latest News
MAGIE 2015 Overview
Eric SfiligojThe Read From MAGIE
August 29, 2016
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL. Being Read More
EquipmentAGCO Opens Nominations For 11th Annual Operator Of The …
August 29, 2016
AGCO Corp. is now accepting nominations for 2016 Operator of the Year, which recognizes hard-working applicators across the country. These Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
CropLife 100CHS Completes $10 Million Renovation Of St. Paul Agrono…
August 29, 2016
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has completed a $10 million Read More
2016 ShowStopper | Case IH Patriot 4440 Sprayer
Equipment5 Show-stopping Products On Display At 2016 MAGIE
August 26, 2016
For 10 years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with voting for Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More